News / USA

Petraeus Testifies on Benghazi Attack

Cindy Saine
Former CIA Director David Petraeus testified behind closed doors Friday before the House and Senate Intelligence Committees on the deadly September attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.  Crowds of reporters and cameras were stationed on both sides of the U.S. Capitol, but Petraeus was completely shielded from view, just one week after he resigned as CIA director because of an extra-marital affair.

The September 11th assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi left U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead.  The government's precautions against such an attack, and its response when the American compound was overrun and burned, is now at the center of an increasingly bitter fight on Capitol Hill between President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies, on the one hand, and congressional Republicans.

Republican Congressman Peter King says the Obama administration's account of the terrorist attack in Benghazi was changed to delete any reference to al-Qaida involvement.

"As far as General Petraeus' testimony today was, that from the start, he had told us that this was a terrorist attack or that there were terrorists involved from the start.  I told him in my questioning that I have a very different recollection of that. The clear impression that we were given was that the overwhelming evidence was that it arose out of spontaneous demonstrations," said King.

  • Yemeni protestors break a door of the U.S. Embassy during a protest about a film ridiculing Islam's Prophet Mohammed, Sana'a, Yemen, September 13, 2012.
  • Yemenis protest in front of the U.S. Embassy during a protest about a film ridiculing Islam's Prophet Mohammed, Sana'a, September 13, 2012.
  • Egyptian protesters burn tires as they clash with riot police outside the U.S. embassy in Cairo, Egypt, September 13, 2012.
  • An Egyptian protester throws back a tear gas canister toward riot police outside the U.S. embassy in Cairo, September 13, 2012.
  • A policeman stands in front of a police car set on fire by protesters in front of the U.S. embassy in Cairo, Egypt, during clashes between protesters and police, September 13, 2012.
  • White House staff are pictured after they lowered the U.S. flag to half staff on the roof of the White House in Washington, September 12, 2012, following the death of U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens.
  • President Barack Obama delivers a statement with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, September 12, 2012
  • A burnt car is parked at the U.S. consulate, which was attacked and set on fire by gunmen, in Benghazi, Libya, September 12, 2012.
  • An exterior view of the U.S. consulate, which was attacked and set on fire by gunmen yesterday, in Benghazi September 12, 2012.
  • An interior view of the damage at the U.S. consulate, which was attacked and set on fire by gunmen yesterday, in Benghazi, Libya, September 12, 2012.
  • Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, was killed along with three of his staff on September 11, 2012 during a demonstration at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.  This photo was taken at his home in Tripoli, June 28, 2012.
  • A vehicle sits smoldering in flames after being set on fire inside the US consulate compound in Benghazi late on September 11, 2012.
  • An armed man waves his rifle as buildings and cars are engulfed in flames after being set on fire inside the U.S. consulate compound in Benghazi, Libya, late on September 11, 2012.
  • U.S. Consulate in Benghazi in flames during protest, September 11, 2012

Shortly after the September attack the Central Intelligence Agency circulated "talking points" about the attack to senior U.S. officials. The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, relied on those background notes to discuss the Benghazi attack on television a few days later (September 16). She said the attack most likely grew out of spontaneous Libyan protests against a notorious anti-Muslim video.

Rice has been mentioned unofficially as a possible successor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who intends to leave her post in the coming months. The dispute over what happened in Benghazi has been cited repeatedly by Rice's critics - by Republican Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John McCain of Arizona, in particular - who say they do not trust her.
 
Here is Senator McCain:

"Let's see what... Let's see what happens here. But we will do whatever is necessary to block the nomination that's within our power as far as Susan Rice is concerned," said McCain.

At a news conference this week, the president reacted angrily:

"If Senator McCain and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me. But for them to go after the U.N. ambassador who had nothing to do with Benghazi and ... to besmirch her reputation, is outrageous," said President Obama.

On Capitol Hill Friday, Democratic women lawmakers gathered to defend Rice against what they described as McCain and Graham's unfair and sexist attacks. Congresswoman Gwen Moore said she realizes some members of the opposition party are disappointed that they lost the presidential election.

"But to batter this woman because they do not feel that they have had the ability to batter President Obama, is something that we, the women, are not going to stand by and watch.  Their feckless and reckless speculation is unworthy of their offices as senators," said Moore.

Lawmakers say there will be more hearings on the Benghazi attack, which means there will likely be more partisan fights over what senior administration officials knew about the attacks and when they knew it.

Timeline of the Petraeus Scandal
Loading...

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Video Scientists Say We Need Softer Robots

Today’s robots are mostly hard, rigid machines, with sharp edges and forceful movements, but researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say they should be softer and therefore safer More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs